|LCQ12: Opinion survey on methods for selecting CE in 2007 and forming LegCo in 2008
Following is a question by Hon Lee Wing-tat and a written reply by the Secretary for Constitutional Affairs, Mr Stephen Lam, in the Legislative Council today (November 23):
It has been reported that the Hong Kong Polytechnic University was commissioned by the Central Policy Unit ("CPU") to conduct an opinion survey from 27 to 30 September 2005 on the methods for selecting the Chief Executive in 2007 and for forming the Legislative Council in 2008. Regarding the commissioning of external organizations by CPU to conduct opinion surveys, will the Government inform this Council:
(a) whether public tenders had been invited to determine the organization to be commissioned to conduct the survey in September this year; if so, of the number of bidders in the tendering exercise; if not, the reasons for that;
(b) of the number of surveys conducted in the past five years in which the contents of the questionnaires had been set by CPU before external organizations were commissioned to conduct the surveys and analyse the data obtained, together with a list detailing the subject matters of such surveys, the dates at which the surveys were conducted and the organizations commissioned; and
(c) whether it has assessed if the objectivity and independence of opinion surveys on the Government's proposals will be affected if the contents of the questionnaires for such surveys are formulated by CPU?
On the first part of the question raised by the Hon Lee Wing-tat, the Constitutional Development Task Force (the Task Force), commissioned through the Central Policy Unit (CPU) the latter's term contractor viz the Poly U Technology & Consultancy Company Limited of the Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU), to conduct the relevant opinion poll.
CPU on a regular basis carries out public tender exercises to hire term contractors for conducting opinion polls. Academic and commercial research institutes which are on the "List of Contractors for Conducting Statistical Surveys" maintained by the Census and Statistics Department (C&SD) are invited to submit bids. A selection board comprising members of CPU and C&SD is responsible for considering the tenders received in accordance with the established selection procedures and criteria.
CPU carried out a tendering exercise in July this year, and appointed PolyU as its term contractor in accordance with the required selection procedures. The opinion poll in question is one of the various polls commissioned by CPU and carried out by the term contractor responsible for conducting opinion polls. Our established practice is not to disclose the number of bidders in the tendering exercise.
On the second part of the question, CPU regularly commissions several academic and commercial research institutes to conduct opinion polls on different public policy issues, such as political, economic, social, quality of life issues etc. The findings are for Government's internal reference. In the main, it is CPU and the relevant government departments that are responsible for designing the questionnaires. Our established practice is that we will not make public information relating to polls that are conducted for internal reference.
On the third part of the question, any opinion polls must meet the requirements for scientific research. As for the design of the questionnaire, it must meet the four standards – logicality, objectivity, accuracy and clarity. CPU has the expertise in this area, and in designing the questionnaire, the Task Force and CPU have strived to meet these objective standards. As long as such standards were met, the objectivity and independence of the poll would not be affected by the fact that the questionnaire was designed by the Task Force and CPU.
Ends/Wednesday, November 23, 2005